Elevations Expands DBT Training With Instructional Videos For Parents
To expand therapeutic family programming and Dialectal Behavior Therapy (DBT) training at Elevations, a collection of instructional DBT videos will be made available as a parent resource on Elevations’ website. DBT is a type of evidence-based talk therapy for children who experience emotions very intensely and is one of the main therapies used at Elevations. Based on the principles of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), DBT helps manage problems by identifying and challenging negative thought patterns to eventually replace them with healthier, more helpful patterns. These videos will serve as a guide or walk-through of skill steps for parents and family members to learn how to navigate DBT.
The instructional videos will build upon the efforts of an Elevations DBT training group for parents. This parent group is structured similarly to the one that students participate in so that parents learn in parallel with their children. When their children have trouble regulating their emotions, parents will then have a set of tools to help them. It’s also beneficial for parents to have a set of coping skills to manage their own responses and experiences.
The parent group consists of a 16-week course with a workbook, assigned readings, and group meetings. First-time parents go through this process, go through basic training and learn various skills such as interpersonal effectiveness, Walking the Middle Path, mindfulness, distress tolerance, and emotional regulation. After completing the first eight weeks, parents move on to advanced DBT training.
Parents join the group by referral of their family’s primary therapist. If a parent is ready and willing to do the work and learn these new skills, their therapist will refer them to a cohort based on availability. The cohort meets for an hour once per week over 16 weeks. During this time, the cohort reviews the material covered in their readings, workbook, handouts, or homework sheets. Parents are encouraged to set weekly goals for themselves. For example, if a parent comes to class saying they have a visit with their child this week, the cohort can discuss how to use emotional regulation on that visit.
The most important part of this group is that it provides parent connection with other parents in a non-judgmental environment where they can safely learn skills and have a supportive community that understands their challenges. DBT training allows parents to feel they can speak a common language with their children.
Primary Therapist Jennifer Maddock says, “I love hearing feedback from parents when they learn a skill and say to me, ‘This came up on my phone call and I can tell my kid is doing this.’ It brings so much hope when they are using the same verbiage, and can see their kids are actively using the skills, and are able to use the skills themselves.”
The expectation for the parent group is that when you commit to attending, you do weekly homework, come prepared, and don’t miss more than two sessions during the eight weeks. It’s also an expectation that parents maintain confidentiality, and are willing to be vulnerable and honest. Once parents have completed the 16-week program, they are welcome to start the program over again, following the same process as the program for students at Elevations.
Elevations RTC is an all-gender residential treatment center providing youth ages 13-17 with personalized, interdisciplinary care. Elevations offers psychiatric care, specialized and intensive clinical groups, accredited academics, and experiential therapy to students with trauma, depression, anxiety, mood disorders, suicidality, and self-harm.
Helping youth rediscover themselves.